Business Briefs for Jan. 27, 2007

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 12:00 am  

• USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren has named Jerry D. Orler to succeed Robert M. Powell as chief executive officer. Powell, CEO for the past 18 years, will remain chairman, a position he has held since 2000. Orler, already president of USA Truck, will retain that position. Orler was one of the founders of the company in 1989 and has been a member of the board of directors and an officer since that time. Before joining USA Truck, he spent 24 years with the less-than-truckload carrier Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith.
• Judge Elsijane Trimble Roy of Little Rock, the state's first woman Supreme Court justice and the state's first woman federal judge, died Jan. 24. She was 90. Roy was also Arkansas' first woman circuit judge, the first woman appointed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and was the first woman to follow her father as federal judge. She retired in 1999 after 21 years on the federal bench.
• Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has announced a settlement with Bayer Corp. over its marketing of Baycol, a drug used to lower cholesterol that was withdrawn from the market on Aug. 7, 2001. Arkansas' share of the $8 million settlement is $200,000. It was part of a 30-state action over concerns that Bayer failed to adequately disclose safety risks associated with Baycol.
• Texas Gas Transmission of Owensboro, Ky., has filed a proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a $360 million, 167-mile natural gas pipeline to move gas from the Fayetteville Shale Play. The proposal calls for a 36-inch pipeline from Conway County to northern Mississippi.
• Tyson Foods Inc. has been fined $40,000 by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for safety violations in a Kansas worker's death. OSHA levied a $5,000 fine for each of three "serious" violations and $25,000 for a "repeat" violation. An ammonia leak at Tyson's South Hutchinson plant on Oct. 31 killed Michael Wiebe, 51, and injured a co-worker.
• Bancroft Apparel & Headwear Co. at Cabot has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and has apparently halted production. The company, which has operated in Cabot since 1967, recently has focused on gaining federal contracts for military headwear. The Defense Department says Bancroft owes the government $2.5 million for 340,000 berets that were allegedly made with foreign materials and shipped sometime before March 2006.
• The Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management will hold a special wild horse and burro adoption at the Saline County Fairground in Benton on March 10-11. The agencies are looking for people to adopt the animals. Adoption fees will start at $125. There will be about 60 horses and a few burros at the adoption including geldings, mares, and yearling horses. Call 1-888-274-2133 for information and applications. Or visit or to learn more about adoption.
• Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro has merged First Arkansas Valley Bank at Russellville into Liberty Bank of Arkansas, and all locations will operate under the Liberty Bank of Arkansas name. The combination gives Liberty 45 banking centers and more than 600 employees statewide. Liberty Bank has more than $2.2 billion in assets.
• The St. Bernard Parish Council in Louisiana has decided to join the class-action lawsuit against Murphy Oil Corp. that came about after a spill of 1 million gallons of oil during Hurricane Katrina. Under the overall $330 million settlement, the parish will get $1 million.
• Arkansas State University's preliminary spring semester enrollment numbers show a significant increase to 10,066, an increase of 237 students from spring 2006. This increase is the largest spring-to-spring increase in at least 14 years and the second highest spring semester enrollment in history.
• Crye-Leike Realtors of Memphis, the nation's sixth-largest real estate company, has moved into northwest Arkansas. It recently opened a Bentonville branch office headed by branch manager Shea Dittrich, former owner of Siena Group Realtors, which was purchased by Crye-Leike. The new branch has nearly 20 agents to serve Benton and Washington Counties.
• The Delta Cultural Center at Helena has been recognized with the Outstanding Website Award presented by the Web Marketing Association. The Web site,, offers an overview, a calendar of programming, features on exhibits, visitors information, a map to the center, and a sampling of the center's popular "Delta Sounds" radio show on the legendary KFFA-AM 1360.



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